DOME PhD student Sarah Zauner champions seagrass conservation on Ö1


PhD student Sarah Zauner, from the Marine Symbioses Group at DOME, has taken the radio spotlight on Ö1 this week, featuring in their series "Vom Leben der Natur". Sarah’s research probes environmental impacts on the symbiotic relationship between lucinid clams and their microbes, particularly within seagrass ecosystems.

In daily 5-minute installments, Sarah shares her fascination for these beautiful underwater habitats, emphasizing seagrass ecosystems' underappreciated role as carbon reservoirs. "A square meter of seagrass outperforms equal space in Vienna Woods or even the Amazon in photosynthetic capacity," she pinpoints. She emphasizes the multifaceted threats facing these habitats—eutrophication from excessive fertilizers, ocean warming, and tourism-induced degradation.

While the scientific community values seagrass ecosystems and their "blue carbon" potential against climate change, this awareness often escapes the public. “Hotels sometimes remove seagrass to make their beaches look more pristine to tourists,” she shares with Ö1. It’s misconceptions like these that motivate her to create more public awareness for these fascinating ecosystems and their role in capturing carbon.